Matt Geiger has a lot of mouths to feed. First there's Big Daddy, his prize buffalo. Then there's Mr. T, his donkey. And then there are the other 45 animals, ranging from cows to minstrel horses, that roam his estate near Tampa.
Geiger and his agents used nature's eat-or-be-eaten principles to negotiate a six-year, $52 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, his third team, in 1998. Three years later aching knees forced him to retire after nine seasons in the NBA. The Sixers still owed him $24 million. "I wasn't the guy who had all the talent," says the 7'1" Geiger, who averaged 9.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. "I was the guy who worked hard."
And still does. Matthew Allen Geiger used his basketball earnings to build a company called MAG Animal—which sells animals to sustain his menagerie—and two other businesses: a real estate corporation and a luxury transportation service. While he won't say what his investments are worth, his bachelor pad gives clues. The 34-year-old lives in a six-bedroom, 29,000-square-foot mansion. He has four pet sharks in a 3,000-gallon tank, and a 750-gallon aquarium.
"I don't want to sit back and enjoy my money," Geiger says. "I'd like to continue to make money. I'd like to retire twice."